As motorcycle riders, the more you know and the more preparation you have, the better your journey will be. If you don’t spend time improving your skills or learning more about your bike, chances are that you won’t be as sharp as a rider who does. Here are five tips to help you become a better rider.
MAINTAIN YOUR MOTORCYCLE
This might seem pretty obvious but you must always keep up on routine maintenances on your motorcycle. It will be harder to become a better rider if your motorcycle is in bad shape. Your bike must always be in tip top shape especially key components like tires, brakes and fluids. These things are key to keeping your bike riding for miles on end without having to pull over because something fails. Also, doing a pre-ride check of your motorcycle helps make sure that everything is working properly before you head out. Pre-ride checks can help you spot any small issues early before they develop into something bigger later.
PRACTICE BASIC AND ADVANCED SKILLS
No matter how long you’ve ridden a motorcycle, its always a good idea to brush up on your skills. We all can improve our riding skills and all it really takes is an empty parking lot to get some good practice sessions in. Always practice skills like: high & low speed braking, turning, swerving and even shifting. Practicing these skills frequently will keep you sharp on the streets. It also helps you get to know how your motorcycle reacts to each of these situations. Knowing your motorcycle will definitely make you a better rider!
MAINTAIN SITUATIONAL AWARENESS
Situational awareness is basically being alert to everything that is going on around you. This goes hand in hand with riding defensively. You should always be alert and ride defensively by have your eyes up scanning the road looking for upcoming intersections, road hazards, and even watching what drivers around you are doing. Maintaining situational awareness will only help keep you safe and ready to make any quick changes if necessary. This is something that really can make a difference between a novice and experienced rider.
RIDE IN ALL WEATHER
The weather these days changes rapidly! Where I live things go from warm and sunny to cold and rainy the next day. I commute to work so it was always important that I knew how to arrive safely in almost any weather. Even if you don’t commute like I do, you should still do your best to try and ride your motorcycle in all weather. By doing so you'll learn how to adjust your riding and gear to remain safe. For example, riding in the rain requires you to slow down and be more visible to drivers (a simple hi-viz vest achieves this), while riding on hot days means you have to wear gear that is breathable. Making these adjustments makes you better prepared for when you’re out on days when the weather is unpredictable.
CHANGE IT UP
If you always ride the same roads and don’t change up the environment you’re used to, you're really keeping yourself from learning new skills. I suggest changing things up by riding in environments you aren’t used to like twisty roads, highways and even city traffic. Each of these locations requires certain skills to get through them safely. This only helps you become a more well rounded rider because you’ll know how to adjust in more than one situation.
In conclusion, the more you know the more you are prepared! This couldn’t be any more accurate for motorcycle riding. Whether you’ve been riding for several years or just one, the tips mentioned above are all things that will help you feel more confident on your motorcycle. Confidence while riding is truly key to staying safe!